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Are you listening to me?

Momma said there’d be days like this

Editor’s Note: Agriculture plays an important role in all our lives, especially in North Dakota. In our new section, “From our Table,” contributors from North Dakota Farm Bureau will provide recipes and insight into family life and our family table.  

Heather and her three children on their family farm.

I had to make a quick stop at the grocery store to get some essentials the other day. It was also a school holiday, which meant I had all three of my kids. Parents who take kids grocery shopping probably understand.

It had already been a day of arguing and whining with me asking them to do the same chore for two hours straight! And they asked me repeatedly, without taking any breaths in between, “Mom, can I watch TV? Can I go outside to play? What are we going to be doing today?” I looked at them and asked – for what seemed like the millionth time – “Do you have all your chores finished?”

Days like these I just want to find a tape recorder so I can record my answers because I just keep saying the same things over and over again.

Do you ever have those days, where it seems NO ONE is listening to you?

Anyway, we all go into the grocery store and I make it perfectly clear to my children that they better be on their best behavior because it has already been a long day. We get all our stuff within ten minutes and go to the check out. It is then that the cashier looks at my distraught face, and the smoke coming from my ears and she says, “Is it ok if they have a sucker for being so good?”

So good? Are you kidding me? I am ready to pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs! I just want to finish off the day with a long hot relaxing bath to try to forget about it. So naturally, I pull my facial expressions together to appear calm and reply with, “Oh thank you, but they have made some bad choices today and are not deserving of that sucker.” She proceeds to pull out the sucker bin from behind her counter and tells my kids that they CAN have a sucker. REALLY?!

It was just one of those days. I was spent. I was drained.  And when I was able to take that nice, long relaxing bath, I calmed down, collected my thoughts and came to the realization that even though I was less than satisfied in my kids’ behavior for the day, I was also (and more importantly) disappointed in mine. Did I respond to them correctly? Probably not. And more importantly was I listening to them?

As parents, we always want our kids to listen to us. Or as business owners we want our employees to listen to us. As an advocate for agriculture I want people to listen to my story. I want them to trust me and can turn to me with any questions that they may have. I want to make sure I listen to others concerns. I am no different than all of you. I want to know that the food my family eats is healthy, affordable and safe.

Heather is the District 7 representative on the NDFB Promotion and Education Committee. She and her husband, Lucas, farm near Sterling and raise wheat, barley, peas and pigs.